Updated: Nov 25, 2019
It's 1999 and my twenty years younger self is spending the entire year getting hyped for The Phantom Menace. That movie dominated my year. I had queued at ToysRUs when they released the new figures just to get my hands on a Darth Maul and a Podracer. I had brought the CD of John Williams Soundtrack. I had seen every trailer countless times and as soon as they were put on sale I brought two tickets so that I could watch the movie twice on the same day. I sat in the theatre as the Lucasfilm logo appeared and thought 'this is it'. Then the end credits rolled and I left the movie and headed to get something to eat before the next showing, all the while trying to convince myself that I had loved what I had just watched. Truth is I couldn't do it. I hadn't loved it at all. It left me deflated and all I could think was that I had to sit and watch it all again as all that excitement turned to shit with every clunky piece of dialogue and every scene featuring Jar Jar fucking Binks. It hurt and I promised I would never get so hyped for a movie again.
Fast forward to 2018. I had been excited for the prospect of Halloween since it was announced. Jamie Lee was involved and it was a direct sequel. Both of these things had me invested. Then the trailer dropped and that old familiar feeling of hype that I had promised to forgo started to creep over me once more. Now I should add that John Carpenters original 1978 movie is one of my all time favourites. I love that movie. To me it is an example of perfect horror story telling. It's simple yet incredibly effective at doing what it says on the tin and I re-watch it every year on Halloween as a tradition. Time came for opening night and I had purchased my ticket in advance (but only one this time just in case) and as we sat waiting for the movie to start even my wife commented that I appeared nervous. I was nervous. I had every right to be nervous because the mishandling of something that means so much to me would mean major disappointment.
I am a movie geek.
Movies mean so much to me, especially Halloween and I take disappointment pretty badly. So the movie played out. That old familiar score played over the top of bright orange titles against a black background as a pumpkin seemed to de-rot and I loved it. I loved the steady build to Michael's escape. I loved how being locked up for so long just seemed to make him more relentless. Once he was out and let loose on Haddonfield I was hooked. The killing spree that followed as Michael went from house to house on a rampage fuelled by 40 years of incarceration had me mentally punching the air with happiness.
Jamie Lee Curtis though was something else all together. Her portrayal of Laurie suffering from four decades of pent up PTSD was nothing short of brilliant. I could really feel for this character that I have adored for so many years. Laurie will always be my number 1 final girl. She survived the original Halloween because she was smart, and wasn't distracted like her sex mad, airhead friends. Seeing how the events of the first film had effected her life so dramatically was like watching an old friend going through a really hard time.
The closing twenty minutes literally had me on the edge of my seat as Laurie searches one dark room after another, the hunted becoming the hunter. You know Michael is there lurking somewhere, but where? The final image as a trapped Michael stares up at his escaping prey, so fixed on Laurie that he fails to even notice that he is being engulfed in flames really stuck with me after the credits rolled.
Now I'm not going as far as to say this film was perfect. Some of the humour fell a little flat and felt out of place and I hated the new Dr Loomis character and his plot twist. It felt crowbarred in and completely unnecessary. Had the rest of the film not been as tight it would have taken me out of the movie completely, but thankfully that was not the case. A lot of love and passion went into making this movie. Clearly the film makers are fans of the original and that really comes across on screen. It really honours Carpenters movie and evidently comes across as a love letter more than a cash in. I know this movie divided people. You either loved it or hated it and I am definitely in the camp of the former. Do I want another sequel? If the quality of this one is maintained then hell yeah. Halloween 2018 has taught me that allowing myself to get a little hyped now and again can sometimes be rewarding. Not everything has to be The Phantom Menace.
You can find the film on amazon here:
And here, for the UK: